Renee H. Kimball, the owner of Tranquilo Bay in Panama, adds a small gratuity to guests' bills, and discusses it with them beforehand. Far from being a hidden resort charge
, Kimball says it benefits both the guests and her staff. "We don't want people to feel like they have to pull their wallet out and tip people as they move their bags around," she says.
In Panama, where the standard tip is 10 percent, the added gratuity equals less than 5 percent. Guests frequently add on to the standard gratuity, but in case of cheapskate guests
, the staff still receives a small amount. For guests who ask, Kimball also discusses tipping etiquette, but doesn't bring it up unless approached.
It's not just what country you're in that determines whether or not a gratuity is included in the bill. In some places, like all-inclusive resorts, or when larger groups engage in an activity, a surcharge is automatically added. So be sure to check.